the first time I was afraid of my life was the first time I felt alive

It was awkward like the first day of school or trying to eat ribs without getting the sauce beneath my fingernails. While she pressed her mass on top of me, I counted the stars or were they airplanes. They flirted, blinking their silver lights.

Then she inserted her finger and I worried her nail polish might flake inside me, creating an infection or complicated aroma of varnish. Then a moan and was that mine.

August is the perfect month to lose one’s virginity because the night air is so dismissive to the sweat sweetly intoxicating fast-moving parts and although the mosquitoes tempted us with suggestions of an orgy, it was just us beneath plastic swing set held captive in her parent’s backyard. At first, I could only focus on the scent of Parliament cigarettes on her skin. It was too dark to create pictures connected by her freckles but I could feel them grind into me. Another finger and the mosquitoes have ignored our request for solitude and what if one bites me on my vagina.

She kisses me with a tongue that feels monstrous, but warm and tastes of what I imagine I must taste like and she doesn’t really want me to touch her and I worry she’s just pretending I’m her boyfriend or our boss who’s suits are always unhemmed and drag against the movie theatre tile. The moon is watching and it’s kind of like a giant nightlight guiding our limbs. Her fist is inside me and this is love, right? Is this love.

from far away, see gizzards

Dear Amy [sic],

I think your hair has gotten too long. You may want to start wearing caps more. Pretend you follow football or care enough about basketball to advertise a team on your forehead. Your curls are too feminine unless you want to be feminine, then I might advise you that that tie around your neck does not go with the lipstick you forgot to put on. Put on some lipstick. I can’t really tell what you are & that makes me uncomfortable. You’re comfortable? But I’m not comfortable. Tuesday, you wore mascara and a skirt too high and your breasts were visible like cleavage and supple or whatever and today you want your dick sucked. How do I label this? What do you mean you’re queer? Are you a top? You like mini-skirt-women or dykes who pack? Do you like men or something? I mean, bio men? I need to know which color you are on our rainbow because I’m thinking you’re not queer enough for us. For me. You aren’t gay enough. Like you hang around with too many straight white men. How many gay people do you know? How many times have you read Stone Butch Blues? Listen, people are talking about you. They are talking and you should know this because you can’t just call yourself queer and not have a uniform to match. Like the way you dress and speak is kind of confusing to us. Do you know enough about our history? How many prides have you been to? Did you march or did you just buy some rainbow flag that day and tucked it in your pocket while you waited on the sidelines? I thought you were different. You talk about gender like everyday, but you don’t even know what that means. What does that even mean to you? I think you are going to have to work harder. Be more clear with us. You want to know why we ignore you? You’re hair is too….you’re messy and inconsistent….I heard about what you used to do with men. People know. So if you’re gonna call yourself queer, represent more. Know our slang. Hang around with our people so maybe you can get more of our behaviors down. I don’t mean to be rude. It’s just we need to be in solidarity, you know?